When the hunt for a killer leaves him in need of a sabbatical, Detective Chief Inspector Ryan withdraws to the island of Lindisfarne – Holy Island – where he tries to distance himself from a harrowing case. But he’s soon hauled back from his leave of absence when, in the days leading up to Christmas, the body of a young woman is found in what appears to be a ritual murder. Dragged into the fray as the Officer in Charge, Ryan seeks help from Dr Anna Taylor, whose own history on the island could give her an insight into the killing.
It’s always a thrill to discover a fellow Northumbrian with a talent for writing, and I’ve been meaning to get to grips with this series for a while. The first of the DCI Ryan books gets off to a cracking start, promising great things for the rest of the series. The author tells a compelling and clever tale that drew me in a little bit more with each chapter. The pacing varies with slower sections in between the more exciting ones and there were plenty of surprises to keep me turning the pages. There was a nice little twist at the end too, that prompted me to order the next book, Sycamore Gap.
If you like unusual murder investigations with a generous helping of weird rituals thrown in, you’ll just love this one.
Ritual murders are always very interesting, Colin. I have to look up Northumbria and see where it is in England.
The book is set on Lindisfarne, about 50 miles from where I grew up. The island, and Bamburgh Castle (on the mainland) were popular places to visit on school trips.